Monday, 14 September 2015

Unpaid Review: Iberico World Tapas

Welcome to Episode 3 in an occasional series where your humble blogger goes undercover as a member of the public (which doesn't take a huge amount of subterfuge as he is, technically, a member of the public) and dines at expensive restaurants so that you don't have to.

No, wait... That came out wrong - You should definitely visit this place, for all the resons that I'm about to enumerate, but just to let you know in advance, for those male readers who use expensive restaurants to 'grease the wheels' for a possible physical liaison with their chosen paramour, Iberico scores a 93 on the 'Aidan Turner gusset dampening scale' but you're going to need to budget at the thick end of £100 to make the whole experience a sure-thing, especially  if you include a decent bottle of wine.

Anywho, back to the 'PG' rated portion of the review.

On Friday (11/09/15), the incumbent Mrs Dandy had made it known, loudly and vociferously, that she had a hankering for some meat - A hankering that could only be extinguished by the application of copious quantities of barely cooked beef... Not a problem in itself, but Derby, the town where we live is known more for its engineering history than it is for its plethora of steak eateries.  A quick Google search threw up a couple of possibilities (yes, I realised after writing that that I could have put it better) and within moments, Heckmondswyke, our faithful manservant had brushed the whoop of mating marmosets (or is it a flange of mating marmosets?) from the plush velour interior of the Dandymobile and we were winging our way from our sleepy suburb into the throbbing metropolis of the city centre itself.

We were dropped in the Marketplace and I requested that Heckmondswyke travel the ring-road in the style of a common mini-cab driver until he was recalled.

Imagine our surprise, when purely due to my lack of research, we were unable to find the steak restaurant that I had researched not hours before. In its place (or so it seemed) was a shining beacon, a temple to gastronomy, a positive... erm... good place... to do some ahh.. eating in.  However, the Thai restaurant seemed to be a bit drab, so we popped next door to a tapas bar that we hadn't previously noticed.

Not that it really matters, but for completeness, you should probably know that I wasn't wearing my usual dinner-jacket / board shorts combo, neither was I wearing my kilt (traditionally) - Time constraints meant that I was still dressed for my day job - New Rocks, tight jeans, two leather jackets and a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' T-Shirt

To continue, I had never, knowingly been to a tapas bar before, certainly not whilst sober and I was pleasantly surprised with both the decor and the ambiance - there was a lot of smooth wood and artisan tiling, which is like normal tiling, but you have to take a run-up - The venue's website describes their choice of fabrics as sumptuous, which I'd probably agree with.

We were shown to our seats by a very agreeable gentleman who provided menus and offered to take my coats and so forth, which I politely declined for 'reasons'. After a very short delay, a young lady appeared to take our wine order and I let the Mehmsahib choose from the copious menu (Seeing as I have little or no use left in the tastebuds that register wine after that sordid incident in Mozambique) After assisting Mrs Dandy in the pronunciation of her wine choice, she educated us as to how the whole 'Tapas thing' works.

How the whole 'Tapas thing' works.

  • Tapas is for sharing, it is more of an experience than it is technically a meal.
  • Well, I mean, it is a meal, obviously.. But.. you know, just go with it
  • There is a bread / nibbles menu (that you or I might call appetisers / starters, because we are all old)
  • Then the main menu is comprised of small dishes that just 'appear' throughout your meal for however many people there are at your table to share.
  • You should get 2 or 3 dishes per person
  • You keep eating until you run out of plates and / or money
  • Then you pay, whilst stifling a silent prayer to your bank balance

On the whole, our experience was hugely enjoyable, the food was excellent, the staff were polite, helpful, interesting, tattooed and one even had wonderfully dyed electric blue hair (I'm presuming it was dyed... The one joy of being the IT Manager for an International Hairdresser is that you can often recognise dyed hair when you see it) - There follows a small rundown of the dishes that we actually had:

  • Mixed Olives (Manzanilla, Gordal & Nocellara)
  • Catalan Bread (topped with tomato, garlic & herbs)
  • Crispy pork belly with fermented radish & nectarine mustard
  • Triple cooked Patatas Bravas 
  • Barbecued Cauliflower
  • There was a lamb thing too... (which I can't find on the online menu, I think it had quails eggs on it)
  • And also some kind of omelet (Which may or may not have been served with a foam or a reduction or something, I forget)

But every single dish was perfectly cooked, presented and served.  On the whole the venue was stunning - If I knew anyone that I wanted to impress, I would certainly bring them here.

It seems like the sort of place where you could happily take a different young lady every week and the only reaction that you would get from the staff would be a knowing wink... Presuming of course that you tipped them royally.  Otherwise, they'd be all up in your grill like a maddened badger, maybe, that's just a guess though in fairness.

Great place, great food, great people.- I understand that they also have a location in Nottingham, although why anyone would want to go there is beyond me.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Steve walks warily down the street With the brim pulled way down low...

How was your weekend?

Mine was alright, I’ve had worse… Kept myself busy, you know, the usual, did a bit of shopping, took the dog for a walk, that kind of thing…

Nothing special… Pretty standard kind of weekend that you have when you’re halfway between paydays.

There was only one minor difference… at 9:30, on Friday 4th September 2015, My friend Rick ‘Odie’ Hoad lost his incredibly short (as far as I knew) battle with lung cancer.

You might have heard me talk about him once before, but not by name  – The incident with ‘Buskilla’ and her detachable wheels? - But he wasn’t the sort of person that you had madcap adventures with… He wasn’t a SMick, or a Jock (RIP), or a Gullible Steve (RIP); That’s not to say he wasn’t funny – He’s had me laughing to the point of tears on many occasions – In fact he told some very inventive, if ultimately crap ‘Christmas Cracker’ type jokes which invariably contained one solitary, often accidental, swear-word… Which would evoke an instant apology to the parents of any youngsters in the room – Then a wink to the kids themselves… And the laughter resumed louder than before.

He was an old-school biker, well, more of a triker really as he seemed to spend more time on three wheels than he did on two – But he was never that slightly ‘up-themselves’ biker that you see in films and TV programs, he was the biker that other bikers usually describe themselves to be… He was there for the sense of brotherhood, for the joy of riding motorcycles – for having a good time. Always in his leather jeans and wrap-around shades

He had his demons, like we all do. He’d suffer crippling bouts of depression, he’d be cantankerous, offensive, forthright… blunt didn’t quite cover it on most occasions – But you knew where you stood with him, and it was usually just at the end of the phone, or a Facebook update, where he was waiting for an opportunity to help you, or to be given an invitation to a rally or a party.  He’d be there like a shot – In any weather, under any circumstances…

He really was one of life’s good guys – And he was also a dyed in the wool, 100% full on, accept no alternatives, knob of the highest calibre.

He really was, pretty much all of the time – One of the people who have paid their respects over the weekend described him as human Marmite, I think that’s a brilliant description.

He invented his own trike riding style… And demonstrated it to me (once… Just the once) – He’d lean out, rather than in on bends, claiming that it put more weight on the outside rear wheel and therefore increased the ‘sticktion’ enabling you to corner faster… To test his theory, we went round and round the traffic island outside my local B&Q on one of his trikes faster and faster, leaning out as far as we both could (it not helping that neither of us were particularly small) up until the inside wheel lifted off the ground, the front wheel all went a bit ‘tankslappery’ and the bollards got real-close, real-fast… He also had this habit of flicking his ignition off and then back on again to cause a backfire as we passed crowds of schoolchildren/football fans/old people/police/pregnant women and nuns.

He also once drove the entire Dandy family to the wonderful seaside town of Redcar (Near the oil refinery) to pick up a puppy that Mrs Dandy had bought under false pretences... All he demanded in payment, despite being given the option of a slap-up meal at a hostelry of his choosing, was a Pick 'n' mix (and his petrol, I'm not a slave driver)

I found also over the weekend that I didn’t have a single, solitary picture of Rick to share with you all.  Which is a pity – The man was an animal… So I’ve borrowed some from the many people who’ve shared their memories over the weekend. See if you can guess which one he is in the photos.

(If anyone minds that I’ve stolen their photos, I will gladly remove them – Just drop me a mail or leave a comment – No offence taken or intended.)

No helmet, just a leather top hat?

Tigga & Rick

Being composed at a wedding...

Stolen the kids' bubble mixture

But he felt the cold, the poor lamb

My condolences go out to his wife, Tigga, His Ex-wife Fiona, and his kids, whom I never had the pleasure to meat. And to his cat, Nermal T Groovekitten (The Ginger Terrorist) who bit my thmb once.

Ride free Brother, Don’t eat all the bacon nor drink all the Jack – I’ll see you down there, but I’m afraid it won’t be for a good long while yet - if we're both lucky.

And for the record, I quite like Marmite.

Oh yeah... Whilst I remember - FUCK CANCER! - FUCK IT RIGHT IN IT'S STUPID ASS!